One of my favorite parts of creating a new recipe is the element of surprise that occurs when my first attempt turns out differently than expected. Occasionally, the alchemy of combining ingredients and bringing them to life yields something even better than what I’d imagined—and it makes cooking an adventure that never gets old for me. Today’s pasta was born from one such happy accident—I set out to make the perfect ratatouille recipe, and in the process realized that for me, it lacked main course energy. So I started experimenting, and my ratatouille-style roasted vegetable pasta was born.
For me, this is the perfect end-of-summer and into September recipe for those weeknights that become a blur of back-to-whatever your schedule includes. It uses the best of late-summer bounty (eggplants, zucchini, bell peppers) that are actually at their best just before autumn bursts onto the scene in all her golden glory. And because those vegetables are slowly cooked together to an almost stew-like consistency, this dish has that coziness that I start to crave this time of year, right along with cozy socks and pumpkin bread.
Traditional ratatouille ingredients
For the uninitiated, let’s start by pointing out what gives this roasted vegetable pasta it’s ratatouille vibes (and no, it has nothing to do with a rat.) Ratatouille is a summer vegetable stew that originated as a French dish from Provence. It features the humble yet delicious vegetables that typically grow in late summer-early fall gardens: zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, and herbs.
In traditional ratatouille, all the veggies are cut into chunks and cooked together with lots of olive oil until they meld together and get a bit mushy. So, as I began my quest to make the perfect ratatouille recipe, that’s where I started, serving it simply with crusty bread for sopping up all the juices. It was good, but for me, it was missing something.
How to make ratatouille roasted vegetable pasta
What I really felt my ratatouille needed to make it not just good, but crave-worthy, was pasta. Specifically, chunky rigatoni cooked to al dente that would be perfect for sopping up all those juices into its crevices. So, after cooking all my ratatouille vegetables, I simply tossed them together with cooked rigatoni, added a little more olive oil and lots of parmesan shavings, and the end result was an incredibly simple summer pasta that is so much more than the sum of its parts. Each forkful is the perfect ratio of veg plus pasta—and the presentation is gorgeous enough for a dinner party, too.
What makes this roasted vegetable pasta so easy?
I’m not exaggerating when I say that this dinner only requires about 15 minutes of hands-on cooking time. Other than the pot you use to boil the pasta, all the vegetables, herbs, and spices for this dish are baked together on a single sheet pan. You’ll want to stagger the baking time a bit as reflected in the recipe, since the eggplant, zucchini, and garlic need to cook a little longer than the tomatoes, peppers, and onions. By letting everything cook down to that ratatouille-like consistency, the vegetables create a sauce that lightly coats each piece of pasta and makes the final dish so satisfying.
I also use high-quality canned tomatoes here, which (call me crazy) are just as good as fresh tomatoes in this dish. I don’t know about you, but I absolutely detest the chore of cutting fresh tomatoes into chunks, so I’m always looking for opportunities to take a canned tomato shortcut. I love San Marzano tomatoes if you can find them, but a good-quality canned fire-roasted tomato always does the trick, too.
Tips for making it ahead and storing leftovers
One of the beautiful things about ratatouille is that it’s even better the next day—and the same holds true for this roasted vegetable pasta. Just pack it up in an airtight container in the fridge, then gently reheat on the stove or at half-power in the microwave tossed with a little extra olive oil to keep it from drying out. Perfect lunch leftovers are served.
This is also a beautiful make-ahead dish, since it’s just as good served at room temperature as it is hot from the oven. If you’re having friends for dinner, go ahead and transfer this roasted vegetable pasta to your biggest serving bowl, place it in the center of the table, then embrace that Provence-style ease and let it hang out while you sip rosé and mingle around a pre-dinner snack or two. After all, summer’s not over yet.
Scroll on for the recipe for this Ratatouille Roasted Vegetable Pasta, then leave a rating and review so we can hear how it goes, and tag me on Instagram if you give it a try.
- 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 small eggplants, cut into half moons
- 1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2" thick rounds
- 1/2 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/2" strips
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, sliced
- 6 large garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
- 1 (14-ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (plus more for serving)
- 1 teaspoon italian seasoning or herbes de provence
- 3/4 tsp sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- pinch red pepper flakes
- 1/2 pound rigatoni, penne, or other short pasta, cooked to al dente and drained
- parmesan, for serving
- Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment or foil, then add the eggplant, zucchini, and garlic.
- Drizzle over one tablespoon olive oil, plus a generous pinch of salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Toss well, and pop in the oven.
- After 10 minutes, remove baking sheet and add peppers, onions, and tomatoes, with another tablespoon olive oil, red pepper flakes, pinch of salt, and basil.
- Cook another 20 - 30 minutes until vegetables are very tender and lightly browned at the edges, tossing halfway through.
- Transfer to a serving bowl, add cooked pasta, drizzle with more olive oil and a pinch of salt. Toss together, then top with parmesan and fresh basil. Eat!
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